Botanic Gardens, Churchtown, 20th November 2022

On the way through Churchtown we stopped in the small Civic Garden (also known as North Meols Garden). We found this winter-flowering Viburnum x bodnantense blooming already, which is quite early. The tree variety originated in Bodnant Gardens in 1935 as a cross made by their head gardener.

The Botanic Gardens were having their Christmas Fair, and the place was packed! A local choir were singing carols by the entrance, and there were various stalls, some goats on display to raise funds for the Woodlands Animal Sanctuary, donkey rides, and the Fernery was taken over for Santa’s grotto. Meanwhile, one of Santa’s lady stand-ins was helping children to write a letter to Father Christmas. More pictures on their Facebook page, including the lovely grotto in the fernery which we didn’t see.

We found seats for our lunch by the bowling green, and managed to eat most of our sandwiches before the mist and rain roiled in and we had to take shelter under an awning. The bowling club continued their game through it all.

There is a beautiful Maple tree there, possibly some kind of Japanese Maple, with glowing autumn foliage.

The tree next to it was bearing huge pears, many of which had fallen. They were hard as nails (we couldn’t squash them with our boots) although the birds seem to have managed to get into some of them.

On the lake were Mallards, a Coot or two, and a Mute Swan family with four big cygnets.

Then we had another torrential downpour, and we all had to shelter under the awnings. As soon as it eased off we headed for the bus. The Salvation Army Band played us out. We had terrible weather last time we were here (28 Nov 2021) so I am now banned from suggesting it again at this time of year!

Public transport details: Train from Central at 10.23, arriving Southport 11.13. Then bus 44 from Hoghton Street at 11.21, arriving at Marshside Road / Cambridge Road at 11.33. Returned on bus 49 from Botanic Road / Botanic Gardens at 1.36, arriving Southport Monument at 1.50, then on the train at 1.55, due Liverpool 2.45.

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